Dental Care During Pregnancy
Routine dental care is important for everyone at any age, but it’s particularly crucial for expecting mothers. After all, pregnancy increases the risk of several oral health problems, and developing these problems could adversely affect your baby’s health. If you have a child on the way, follow these dental care tips to promote a healthy pregnancy.
How Pregnancy Affects Dental Health
The changes your body undergoes while pregnant may increase your risk for the following conditions:
- Cavities: Sugar cravings and the temptation to skip brushing because you’re tired or nauseous can make you more cavity-prone. The bacteria that cause cavities can then pass to your unborn baby, causing problems for the child’s teeth later in life.
- Gingivitis and gum disease: Hormonal changes increase the risk of “pregnancy gingivitis,” which affects 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women. Red, swollen, tender gums can develop into more serious gum disease, infections, and tooth loss if left untreated.
- Eroded tooth enamel: Increased vomiting from morning sickness may expose your teeth to excessive stomach acid. This can eat away at the outer layer of your teeth known as enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity, discoloration, and chipping.
- Loose teeth: Rising hormone levels can cause your teeth to loosen temporarily.
- Pyogenic granuloma (pregnancy tumors): Too much plaque can cause tender lumps to form on your gums. These aren’t cancerous, but they cause discomfort and bleed easily. Proper dental care during pregnancy can prevent pyogenic granuloma.
How to Prevent Dental Problems During Pregnancy
Keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your pregnancy with these tips:
- Brush and floss: Brush for two minutes at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Then, floss once a day to remove plaque from between the teeth.
- Use mouth rinse and antacids: If brushing makes you feel nauseous, a temporary alternative is to rinse your mouth with a solution of one teaspoon baking soda and one cup water. You can further reduce acidity in your mouth by taking antacids. Just be sure to speak with your doctor first.
- Eat a healthy diet: Limiting sweets reduces your cavity risk. Then, eating more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products provides you and your baby with nutrients that promote strong teeth and healthy gums.
- Visit the dentist: Don’t skip your routine appointment because you’re pregnant. Exams are more important than ever right now! During the visit, tell your dentist about your pregnancy, any medications you’re taking, and whether your pregnancy is high-risk. Also, disclose any changes you notice with your teeth and gums.
- Get dental X-rays if needed: Rest assured that dental X-rays can be performed safely during pregnancy. The technician takes special care to safeguard you and your baby by shielding your abdomen and thyroid.
Dental checkups before and during pregnancy are essential to find and treat problems early. To schedule your next appointment, please contact Park 56 Dental in NYC by calling (212) 826-2322.